8 Financial Safeguards for a Natural Disaster

You hope you never encounter the kind of natural disaster that requires you to abandon your home and places your property at risk.

But if you do, don’t let it catch you unprepared. Here’s what you need to do.

• Know your insurance. You don’t want to be surveying the damage to your home, car, and all your possessions and not know exactly what’s covered or whom to contact.

• Have a photographic memory. Literally—take a photo of everything in your house, room by room. Video is even better. This will make the claims process much easier.

• Back up everything. For your critical financial records, industry experts recommend backing up everything in two different formats. Keep one offsite or in the cloud.

• Consider a safe deposit box for original documents. For documents such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, adoption papers, stocks and bonds, and wills—consider a safe-deposit box.

• Prepare a financial “go-bag.” In case you have to evacuate on a moment’s notice, put in enough money for three days of expenses.

• Don’t fall for scammers. A natural disaster attracts all kinds of scammers. Don’t let the stress of the situation lower your guard.

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